Deal on Azura-Edo Power Plant Remains Intact, Says Actis

By Emmanuel Addeh

Actis, the majority shareholder in the Azura-Edo power plant located in Edo State, has said that its deal with the power generation company remains intact despite challenges over foreign exchange scarcity in the country.

A source close to the operations of the company, told THISDAY that reports that current dollar shortage in Nigeria may threaten the smooth operations of the power plant, was not totally correct as the loans taken by the company will not be due until November this year.

Azura-Edo provides a tenth of the country’s power needs and the $900 million independent power plant was reported to have been unable to source dollars through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which has restricted access to the greenback in an effort to support the local naira currency.

However, the source noted that the fears were unjustified as the international company continues to work with Azura-Edo to sort out all the bottlenecks to its smooth operation.

Azura which produces roughly 460MW of power is backed by the London-based private equity firm Actis, as well as by the CDC, the UK government’s development investment arm and has been applauded as a model for how international investment could be deployed to fix the mass power shortages in Nigeria.

Nigeria has the capacity to deliver 4,000MW of the roughly 13,000MW of power it produces, a far cry from the quantum of electricity needed by the approximately 200 million citizens of the country.

However, a representative of the company told THISDAY that the power plant will keep producing, noting that all the parties involved in the deal are working together to ensure that there’s no default by November.

He added that for now, it’s merely a “technical default” which does not in anyway affect the smooth running of the plant.

“What’s going on is that there’s been a technical default as opposed to default on the loan. The technical part being that there’s an issue with foreign exchange in that region. The debt isn’t due until November, so there’s plenty of time to proffer solutions as it were.

“And the lenders are fully involved. So, the power plant will keep producing power in that respect. Everything is going on well and we will keep producing power as is. But for now, everything is going on well with all parties involved” the source who declined to be named said.

Actis says it’s a leading investor in growth markets across Africa, Asia and Latin America which delivers consistent, competitive returns responsibly, through insights gained from trusted relationships, local knowledge and deep sector expertise.

It was founded in 2004, and boasts that it has since then raised about $19 billion since inception and employed 300 people, including a team of 120 investment professionals, working across 17 offices globally.